“The entrepreneurial spirit that’s growing among the Canadian workforce can sometimes feel like a double-edged sword for business leaders,” says Mitch Silverstein, a partner at accounting and business advisory firm Richter.
“While that spirit is fantastic for fresh idea generation and innovation, some business executives are feeling run over by a young labour force who wants to learn everything it can within a couple of years, and then jump ship for a bigger salary,” says Silverstein.
Richter recently surveyed 500 Canadian executives (average revenue $10 million to $50 million), only 39% of whom say they invest in the training and development of their employees. The same percentage say they choose instead to invest in product and technology development.
The rationale: why nurture in-house talent, only to see them leave for one of your competitors—or possibly leave to become one of your competitors.
Silverstein says it takes millennials at the most 15 minutes to find any information they want online—and the same “instant gratification” strategy applies to their career. “It’s 15 minutes to get me to the top or just get me out,'” he says, with many recent grads willing to give a company about 18 months before moving on.
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This restlessness isn’t just a Gen Y syndrome. Silverstein says the older generation of workers are increasingly having what writer Michael Gerber calls an “entrepreneurial seizure.” As Gerber describes in his book “The E-Myth,” they start to ask themselves why they’re working so hard for someone else when they could be working for themselves. And, voila, another greypreneur is born.
These types of HR challenges have always existed. But, despite the rise of new entrepreneurs of any age, many of the executives surveyed are trying hard to retain their top talent. At least 71% of those surveyed say they’ve already pushed themselves beyond their limits paying higher salaries to their best employees in an effort to retain them. The survey also found that, while CEOs are happy to outsource some requirements to advisors and specialists, they still feel very strongly about maintaining a core in-house team.
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